Wednesday 15 December 2010

Finding dotterel for the first time

On Friday afternoon I decided to try the birding equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. 

The Collins guide map shows dotterel winter on the higher southern parts of Jebel Akhdar.

Furthermore the write up says they (dotterel) prefer flatter ground.

flatter ground on the southern side of Jebel Akhdar

So I headed to land a few kilometres east of Wadi al Haserim which I had visited a couple of weeks before (see blog called another wadi, more corn buntings). The area east of Wadi Al Haserim meet the books criteria.

red spot marks area visited searching for dotterel (blue spot is wadi al haserim)

Now here's the funny thing. I actually saw six birds within two minutes of searching!  The book is absolutely right. I am left to wonder why its so accurate on this. Why would someone report on dotterel locations and yet 30 more species which are more obvious remained unreported so Collins had no information to go on.

Before you think this was all a wall in the park let me tell you it was very, very windy and though I saw the birds fly into a field I couldn't see them on the ground. Three times I walked round the field and three times they flew off before I had even noticed them.  I spent an hour looking for them.

I gave up and went to Wadi Al Haserim for solace. I'll blog about what I saw there further down. 

Anyway after Wadi Al Haserim I returned to the field for one last look. I picked them out immediately so I now have more than a landscape photo to show you. 

dotterel in a field on southern high part of Jebel Akhdar

Below is a second more blurred picture but which does show the head stripe on a dotterel.

second blurred picture of a dotterel

Overall I was very satisfied because dotterel was a "lifer" for me and I have some sort of photographic record.

wadi al haserim

In between visits to the dotterel field, I re-visited wadi al Haserim which I had seen two weeks before.

local chaffinch

The local chaffinch were still there but they seemed more confiding allowing me better pictures.

two corn bunting, one flying, one perching

The large flock of corn bunting were still there two weeks on. However they were mostly sheltering from the fierce wind. It looks like they may stay a greater part of the winter at Wadi Al Haserim especially as more rain is forecast so the wadi will refill and the fields will hold food.

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